UFC light heavyweight, Anthony Smith, joined ESPN’s Brett Okomoto, Friday, March 20, to discuss his upcoming hometown fight against Glover Teixeira.
During the interview, Okomoto asked Smith what it’s like investing in a fight camp that has the chance of getting postponed or canceled in the near future, due to the new travel and public gathering restrictions put in place, courtesy of the recent COVID-19 global outbreak.
“On average, the last, probably two years, each training camp costs me like $20,000. Or more,” said Smith. “I spent $35,000 on Jon (Jones), and then turned around, eight weeks later, and spent another $25,000 on (Gustafsson).”
Smith further explained that even the postponement of fights can be costly for fighters.
“I get it. From the outside it looks like, ‘oh his fight got canceled, they’re gonna postpone it. He’ll still get a fight. He’ll still get paid.’ Well if you do a six week training camp, you know, or a eight week training camp, and the last two weeks it gets canceled, you still spent that 20 grand, and if they push it back six weeks, you have to spend another 10, or 15, or 20 grand, to get back to where you were before. So it’s not that simple,” said Smith.
Smith isn’t the only fighter on the UFC roster that is dealing with these unfortunate circumstances, however. There are hundreds of fighters facing these same issues, thousands if you consider all of the fight organizations outside the UFC.
With the current circumstances that the entire world is facing, fighters must still proceed in spending money on their training camps while knowing full well that their event has the potential of getting postponed, or worse, cancelled, in the near future.
In light of the outbreak, UFC president, Dana White, has announced publicly that he has not laid off any UFC employees, since the recent global shut down. White went as far as to say that if any of his employees or fighters come down with the virus, he will get them proper medical care, and provide them with any other help they may need.
According to Smith, White called him earlier in the week to encourage him to keep training for his upcoming fight, as it hasn’t been postponed or cancelled, at this time.
Smith also stated that White informed him that he is sympathetic and understanding of his current situation, having come off of two surgeries and not fighting in almost a year.
The fight is scheduled to take place, April 25, on UFC on ESPN+ 31, at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.